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Fushimi Inari Shrine @ Kyoto, Japan

During my 1st visit to Japan, I visited a lot of temples and while they were interesting, I think after a couple of temples, they were all starting to look the same. So this time around, we decided that we would skip most of the temple visit and only visit a few really interesting ones.  On the top of the list  is the Fushimi Inari Shrine in southern Kyoto. Fushimi Inari Shrine is famous for its vermillion gates – thousands of them!

 From Kyoto Station to Fushimi Inari Temple (JR Inari Station):
 Train: JR Nara Line
 Costs: ¥140 (USD$1.30) (child price is 50%) *FREE if you have the Japan Rail Pass
 Travel Time: 5 minutes

JR Inari Station
JR Inari Station

After getting out of the JR Inari Station and walking for about 5 minutes, you will get to this main entrance. This was at 8:30 am and it was already starting to get crowded.


Arashiyama Bamboo Forest @ Kyoto, Japan

Whenever I plan a trip, there is a list of “MUST VISIT” and a list of “Visit if we have time” attractions. On the top of the “MUST VISIT”list in Japan is the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest.

From Kyoto Station, we took the JR Sagano train to the Saga-Arashiyama station. It took us 15 minutes and usually costs ¥240 but free if using the JR Pass. Then from the Saga-Arashiyama Station, it is just a short walk to the Bamboo Forest aka Bamboo Grove.


Once there, there is a path that you can walk through the bamboo grove. If you do not want to walk, you can also hire one of the rickshaws to bring you around.


On the 3rd day, we had reservation on the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyoto at 11 am. The Shinkansen leaves from Tokyo Station. Our plan was to drop off our big luggages at the hotel concierge to be forwarded to Kyoto, take the local train from Shinjuku Station to Tokyo Station around 9am, arrive in Tokyo Station 15 minutes later and have brunch at Tokyo Station. Sounds like a good plan, right?


There are so many awesome camping spots in the Washington & Oregon (aka the Pacfic Northwest). Over the last few years, we have camped in many of them. We like some of them but there are some that we do not ever want to go back again. Here are some of our favorite campsites. These are all in the National Parks and thus have pretty good facilities including bathrooms and showers.

  1. Nehalem Bay State Park,  Oregon

    The biggest attraction for this campsite is the sand dunes. It is amazing how many creative stories come from their imagination while playing in the sand dunes. The Tillamook Cheese & Ice-cream factory is 30 miles south of this campsite. So usually we will make a drive down to tour the factory and get some of their delicious ice-cream. There are playgrounds in the middle of some of the camping loops. There are also yurts available if you do not like tent camping.


Free Printable Camping Packing List

Even though it is a little early, I was checking out our summer camping reservations and thought I would share my camping packing list. As a family, we love camping but we love car camping. Which means that while we are able to be outside enjoying the nature, we are still able to bring all necessities and maybe a little luxury and dumped them in the car for easy access. So this list is for those who want to do car camping.